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Is Sign Language Universal? Read Here!

Is Sign Language The Same In All Languages?

Sign language is used in different ways in different countries. For example, some sign languages use hand gestures while others use body movements.

There are many types of sign language around the world.

Some are used as a way for people who are deaf to communicate with each other, while others are used by those who prefer to use their hands rather than their voice to express themselves.

The answer to is sign language universal is, of course, no. Every language has its own unique signs that are specific to that language. The same is true for sign language.

Not all languages express the same meaning with the same gestures. Sign language is a language that uses hand gestures and movements of the body to communicate.

It is a visual language and can be understood by hearing and deaf people alike.

To learn more, just keep reading!

What is Sign Language?

Sign language has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it started gaining popularity among different cultures.

Sign language is a system of hand gestures used by the deaf to communicate. It enables deaf people to use their hands to talk, read lips, write, and create drawings.

Deaf people use various combinations of hand and facial expressions and gestures to communicate with each other and to the hearing world.

The American Sign Language (ASL) is the most popular of the various sign languages.

The ASL has developed into a complete system of its own, with its own grammatical rules, its own vocabulary, and its own specific signs, which are used in different situations.

The signs may change and the language, depending on who is teaching the language and what they are teaching.

People who learn sign language use different hand shapes depending on the sign language being taught.

This means that learning one form of sign language does not mean that you will master another.

Types of sign language

There are three main types of sign language, all three languages have different signs and symbols.

  • American Sign Language (ASL)

ASL is used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.

  • Signed English (SE)

SE is used in England and Wales.

  • British Sign Language (BSL).

BSL is used in the UK.

What are some Signs used in Sign Language?

Many deaf children learn family of sign language at an early age from parents or teachers who have learned it first-hand.

Some schools also teach students how to sign so that they can become fluent later in life once they attend regular classes.

If your child signs before he/she learns any speech, it’s important to make sure you’re familiar with this new skill.

You should try to understand his/her signing patterns and help him/her develop better communication skills.

However, if your child isn’t already using signed language, don’t worry too much about it – some kids never really pick up on speaking; instead, they rely solely on sign language.

It doesn’t matter whether your child uses spoken language or international sign language – both methods work fine.

There are many signs that can be used when communicating through sign language. Below we’ll go over some common ones:

1. Hand shape

Hand shapes vary according to the way the word is pronounced. There are four basic hand shapes that are commonly seen in original language sign.

They include: palm down, palm facing upwards, fist, and open hand.

2. Location of the hands regarding body parts

When making natural sign language motions, there needs to be sufficient space between the body parts involved. This allows someone else to see where the fingers point.

For example, if you want to show that something is inside your mouth, move your index finger towards your chin while pointing to your teeth.

3. Gestures done simultaneously with words

Gestures made during conversations do not always need to come after every single word said.

For instance, when telling a story, you might gesture along with the sentence even though no actual movement occurs.

4. Body movements

Body movements or body language accompany certain types of actions more than others. These include head nods, shoulder shrugs, eye contact, and eyebrow raises.

5. Combinations of these elements

Combining all the above techniques together creates a unique signature for each individual person.

6. Different styles of signing

Signing style includes things like speed, tempo, placement, emphasis, etc. As mentioned earlier, everyone has their own personal style.

7. Fingerspelling

Finger spelling refers to writing out letters by moving only your fingertips rather than fingers. It usually involves touching the tip of your forefinger against the back side of the rest of your fingers.

8. Other gestures

Other gestures include waving goodbye, shaking hands, giving high fives, etc.

9. Emoticons

Emoticons refer to nonverbal expressions such as frowning, smiling, laughing, nodding, etc. Often, people will use emoticons as punctuation within sentences.

How to use sign language?

The best time to learn sign language journey would probably be right at birth. However, most parents aren’t aware of this.

They think they have plenty of time until children talk because they assume learning to speak takes place gradually.

This is true, but unfortunately, it’s not enough. When trying to communicate with babies who cannot yet talk, teachers often resort to asking questions which require answers from them.

In order to effectively communicate using universal sign language, you need to understand how your brain processes information.

Your brain receives visual images from the eyes through the optic nerve, auditory input via the ear drums, tactile sensations through five senses including touch, taste, smell, temperature, pain, pressure sensitivity, and balance and movement.

You can also receive sensory messages through nerves located in your skin, muscles, joints, and organs. These signals go directly to the central nervous system where our brains process them.

When we see something we want or hear someone talking, we get an immediate message to move towards that object or person. We don’t have time to think about why this happens – it’s automatic.

Similarly, when you’re signing a letter or communicating verbally, your body automatically reacts without thinking about it first. You feel you must respond immediately.

Why Sign Language is important?

Learning Sign Language is Important. There are many benefits to learning sign language:

1. It helps develop independence

2. It promotes socialisation skills

3. It develops communication skills

4. Learning Sign Language makes it possible to interact with the hearing world better

5. It improves memory

6. It enhances self-confidence

7. It opens up opportunities for employment

8. And finally, it improves academic performance


Sign language is not universal, but there are some similarities across the world. It depends on where you are in the world, the people you talk to, your personal experiences and your background.

While there may very well be a common core of gestures and expressions, various cultures and even various deaf communities have their own variations of sign language, much like spoken language.

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A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.